A Tale To Tell & Remember

I'm very much inspired by the words of Thomas L. Friedman in his book "The World Is Flat" which renders about the influence of bloggers in this new age. I want to keep the highest integrity and honesty in posting my words to the world. This blog act as a testimony to my alacrity of sharing information with the borderless world. Hope we can share a high regards of veracity and chivalry with this blog because that's why it is here. So help me God!

Visit Malaysia

Visit Malaysia
Malaysia Truly Asia

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Leadership virtue in engaging battles

By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Bin Hj Ismail

Introduction

What is the value of a leader on battle ground? Why leader and military commander is very important? And why sometimes, a leader is considered as a “primadona” by the fighting soldiers during a military campaign? Why sometimes technology used does not really matters as more important is the man who is leading the assault as had been experienced during the Korean War? The answer to the entire question raised is the leadership quality and leaders are a human beings and not a machine.

Leader possesses individual ability of harnessing greatest energy to be used during battles. These energies does not only comprises of strength and physical conduct, but also divine factors, moral standards and ethical behaviours which cannot be extracted from machine and high tech gear. One of the magnificent traits that possessed by a leader is sheer influence to affect human behaviours in accomplishing a mission.

Harnessing human spirits and moral

In the historical background of human abilities, sometimes mankind needs a leader to remind them that the missions need to be accomplished. Mankind can be considered always lacking in every industrial of human war engineering achievement. But still the goal of achieving objectives needs to be achieved. A leader will try to the best of his ability to affect human behaviour to accomplish mission. Such can be proved during a military campaign where human energy and spirits easily wears out and thinned out after embattled hard battles. Thus a leader must use his human touch to oversee the soldiers on the field and taking care of their welfare needs, and such will affect the spirit and outcome of the conflict.

As had been experienced during the Vietnam War when Colonel Hal Moore the commander of the (7th Calvary Regiment) of the pitched battles took by American G.I.’s against the North Vietnam Army, he (Hal Moore) would very much be glad on the battle field fighting with his man rather than being in Saigon and directed the battles from a distance. Such leadership quality will then bring some spirits and morals among the fighting man that they are receiving orders from the good and accountable military commander rather than top brass that are directing an unseen battle. Such tactics used by Colonel Hal Moore had ensured success on the battle ground even though victory looks to much certain to be lost. Sheer perseverance of commanding conduct will ensure victory and not the much high tech aerial bombings by F4 fighting aircrafts and precisions artillery bombings during the battle of La Drang.

Arts of motivation

Another important trait which possessed by the human military commander/ leadership which cannot be contained by the technology is the power to motivate and contribute towards effectiveness. Military commander have the ability of seeing the problems that occurred during engaging in battles and had the ability of suggesting any methods or develop any strategic methods to help in the effort of waging war. Much of the technologies developed during World War II, Korean War or the Vietnam War came from the ideas of military commander after seeing the battle fought. As such they had the opportunity to settle up problems that arises. For an example during World War I, the fighter plane don’t know how to shoot through the propellers, and they just ventured in shooting enemies via machine gun that was mounted on the top of the plane wings. But after many experiments by the experienced combatants, the fighter pilots realized that they need a much effective ways in shooting down enemy planes, thus research and development is done to find a ways to shoot enemy through propellers which proved to be effective and accurate.

Leaders also have that capability in bolstering confidence in one’s own decision making. A leader is born and not develops. A chief is the one that is develop and will resort their skills to only minor task. But a leader will always take chances and risk their judgement to achieved goals. If Adolf Hitler does not risk their nation’s sovereignty from developing military capabilities fearing Versailles treaty shall fall upon them, they will not be the superpower pre-World War II. The ability and perseverance of making their subordinates to be confident on their decision making and military plans is one of the most important traits to achieve goals. Sometimes collective decision will only lead to filibustering the outcome of war and lengthen the decision making process. Great leader will veto any decision making and make a conclusion to ensure mission to be accomplished.

Gifted ingenuity

If it is not because of the Kennedy’s brothers (John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy) during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the people of the world would have been living in the winter of nuclear fallout. The absolute power of the American Presidents during the Cuban Missile Crisis had saved the world which they resort to negotiations and diplomatic solutions and not the war which the American Military Chief of Staff would have wanted. The ability of the leader in seeing that balance of power is no more relevant in the future world such can be seen through the decision in engaging just only in the Cold War rather than hot war which proved had saved the lives of the world citizens.

The power of instilling passion and hope during combat is one of the most important traits of military commander during engaging in battles. Passion is the traits of the most important human quality in finishing up task, because passion can act as a drive force for the soldiers and military personal to deliver what they had been ordered. If anyone works on the conditions that they do not have passions, then the quality of the work would definitely be worse and not into great effects. During World War II, there are American army groups which engaging with the Japanese soldiers in Burma. They had one of the best army commander named Brigadier Frank Miller leading 3, 000 army personal engaging Japanese troops that was stationed in Burma. These American soldiers had marched 200 miles down into the jungle warfare and won each battle that they had fought. The factor of commanding General is the utmost important because General Frank Miller managed to instil passion within their combat soldiers after wearing out of supplies and energies during the jungle warfare.

Charismatic traits

The human factors which will lead human soldiers on the ground of warfare too are one of the most important traits in fighting a war. There are natural charismatic leaders among the people of the world that when they are put to the test of being an army commander, they will do it in flying colours. The name of George Patton, Douglas Mc Arthur just to name a few is the few selected army top commander who had the most magnificent traits in leading a fighting man into combat. This military commander does not come with another agenda in their guts except in leading their man to total victory. Patton always believed that he was the historical commander of the Carthaginian’s soldiers during the Greeks invasions of Sicily. He believed that war is the reason why he is born and he will lead his army to absolute victory. The funny side of it, he did it during the World War II.

The one that can be define and determined as a clear sense of mission is the leader. A leader which can put and mould a clear sense of mission can coax his fighting soldiers to be very effective in engaging war at the same time realize fully on what are they fighting for. When America invaded Iraq in 2003, there is no clear sense of objective why are they fighting the war. Is it because of the weapons of mass destruction or the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein? Or to an extent there are arguments saying that they fight the war for the oil resources which came in abundantly in Iraq. The sense of objectivity during the Iraqis campaign had put the fighting men in bewilderment. That is one of the reasons why the outcome of Iraq is seen as impossible to be settling up.

Differs during the American Civil war when Abraham Lincoln ventured and decided to fight the separatist of Confederate soldiers, the objective is clear which is to fight slavery and separatism of the Union. During the World War II, Americans are fighting the fascist regimes which are clearly against humanity. During the Vietnam War, American defines the purpose of fighting the war into ideologies matters which is very subjective. The Americans people at home don’t understand the reason why are they fighting war which can be concretely define, and that is the reason why they lost the war in Vietnam even the technologies used during the Vietnam campaign is at the state of the art.

Optimism

The factor in being optimistic towards achieving goals too is of the important characteristic of a leader and not the technologies used. During the World War II, England had been at the brink of total collapse at the hands of the Nazis after series of the Blitz over the skies of London. The country had been brought up to its knees and ravaged by the Nazi’s bomb, and only one man stood up between total lost and victory. That man was Winston Churchill which believes that victory is very much certain despite the people of England had lost its hope after series of defeats either in Northern Africa, Singapore and Dunkirk, France. But as being the leader and Commander in Chief of the British military machine, Churchill had instilled a fighting spirits within the English people’s heart to never surrender.

His spirits of optimism in fighting the war and great oratorical skills to light up a fighting fire in the English people’s heart had gives hope to the British people. Being a leader which is focused and adamant in gaining victory and achieving successes goals, ones cannot run away from being the public persona and role models. General Patton is regarded as close to the soldier’s heart and much of what he did everyday during the war end up being on the front page of the American media. Churchill had instilled that in every English peoples there are Churchill to fight for what they believe. Such a beliefs till this day lasted when whatever happened in London or when Britain faced difficulties, they will remember Churchill and his victory signs.

Knowledge and personal industrial effort

A leader and commanding officer also had a self-knowledge in executing orders to achieve goals. The reason why Douglas McArthur had choose Inchon, South Korea, to land the American forces during the Korean War is his personal military skills of cutting the supplies of the North Korean armies by attacking their left flank and isolated the North Korean that are fighting in the south. General Patton decision to attack Sicily and managed to take the whole Island before the British under Montgomery is his (Patton) own personal commanding capabilities during waging war with the Germans.

A leader also needs to be visionary and far sighted. This is because leaders need to make decisions every second especially during crisis. This decision will lead to the outcome of the military campaign of certain battles. During the Battle of The Bulge, at Bastogne when Field Marshals Walther Model and Gerd von Rundstedt encircled the fighting American soldiers, they had offered a truce to the American fighting men. But one man stood up and answer “Aw, Nuts” in his own words. That man is General Anthony McAuliffe, and by doing that, he had instilled a fighting spirits among his own man plus some amusement under the cloud of total lost. Even though the Americans where outnumbered by the Germans in the Cold winter of Bastogne and were decapitated by being inferior in ammunitions and tanks, still the German army do not managed to take the ground and eventually the German soldiers back away and some surrendered by the emerging force of General Patton which arrived eventually to save the day.

Communications and oratorical skills

Greatest military commander in the history of mankind must have a trait of inspirational communications and oratorical skills. This is one of the most and number one traits which must be possessed by the great leader and military commander. The problems of conveying the right messages to the fighting man and the public which are supporting the war through the ballot box are crucial to ensure victory. John F. Kennedy managed to do that during the Cuban Missile Crisis where he brought up International Pressure in the Security Council meeting obscure what were the Soviets are doing in Cuba. By having International Pressures and the back up of the American public, he had paved the way of the sanctioning Cuba from military build-up.

The blockade of Cuba which was suggested by RFK after much lengthens debate during the Exx Comm meeting is another way of communication with the Russian politburo and Chief Secretary Khrushchev. During the World War II, American patrol units were equipped with transmitter radio to communicate with the commanding officer at the garrison ensuring that the right decision made after certain circumstances. The way Eisenhower deals with the big scale invasion and ensuring such information about the whereabouts landings and the drop zone for Operation Market Garden is one of the capabilities of him waging war at the same time not to let vital information fall into enemy hands.

When Douglas Mc Arthur invades the Philippines at the Palo Beach Leyte, after his landings, he commands the Philippines’ resistance to fight a war against the Japanese on their soil. His oratorical skills and good communications had brought up the spirits of the fighting man on that Island. But the Greatest Communicator of all is Ronald Reagan. The way Reagan handles the media in suppressing the Soviet Union especially during his visits to Berlin had shorten the Cold War period by promising certain victory. Communications and oratorical skills promised certain victory if the methods and variance is right.

Revolutionary idea

Great military leader brought with them revolutionary idea in fighting war. An act of revolutionary warfare had paved the way war is fought in this modern era. It started with Genghis Khan when he invaded the east European states and bring with them the way of absolute war of the Mongols. After that Napoleon brought with himself the way of fighting the modern war by setting up artillery as a supporting unit for infantry. He then manages to smarten the war organizations by creating divisions and the army corp. So much of the effectiveness of his Grand Armies, his military strategies had been copied by all the modern government in building up military mechanism.

Great leadership of the commanding officers brought along with them high standards of human values in waging war. The war is limited to certain extent that there shouldn’t be any absolute war. Therefore in engaging any battle according to the beliefs, mankind had created ways in fighting limited war especially using weaponry as a smart bomb and only effective towards the combatants and not the civilians. There are beliefs saying that war is a moral contest before any battle should be fought. Those that allied themselves with the heaven will certainly won the war even though there will be forfeiture. Such had been proved by various historical battles that happened such as during the Great War and the World War II.

As had been stated before, great military commander brought with themselves charismatic traits which overruled every traits and advantages that possessed by the technologies. Hope is imminent when we allied ourselves with these leaders. They tend to fight and be a sheer fighter and will not succumb to fate and other people’s perseverance. In combat, such leaders will lead his own army in setting up comradeship value such had been showed by Alexander the Great and Napoleon. Leadership traits especially in waging war are the number one factor in ensuring victories. Technology used is only remains as tool in securing victory and will not ensure victory.

References:-

McArthur, 2007. Richard B. Frank, Palgrave McMillan;
Thirteen Days: A Cuba Missile Crisis, 1999. Robert F. Kennedy, W. W. Norton & Company;
The Greatest Communicator: What Ronald Reagan Taught Me About Politics, Leadership and Life, 2005. Dick Wirthlin,Wynton C. Hall, Wiley; and
Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life, 1998. Alan Schom, Harper Perennial.

2 comments:

nimrod78 said...

Good article. Very informative.

hassan amir said...

just one comment...i beg to differ with your statement...a leader is born and not created...

since you have used military leadership as a focal point of the paper, i would like to point out that it is the military which spends exorbitant amounts of money, time and resourcs to produce leaders...'PRODUCE' leaders...not by selective breeding, as one might expect to breed such a 'specialized species', but through scientific means of extended training, indoctrination, innoculation and exposure.if leaders are born and not produced, and if the product of such rigorous military training is capable only of minor tasks, maybe they should all look for the genes of men like Leonidas, Achilles, Alexander and the infamous 'Genghis' Gene X.

the confidence of the military leader comes from his faith in the men he leads, the faith in the training he was subject to, the faith in the equipment his men have under their command. it also comes from knowledge and forebearance, foresight and intelligent appraisal, which are all taught. it comes with the assurance that he is technically proficient, his battle plan is fool proof and that his appraisals are thorough. Calculations...said Sun Tzu...intelligent calculations are the trademark of the good military leader, and such things are scientific.
the old adage that 'some are born to greatness' is only so true as long as the individual rises to the occassion. had not alexander decided to consolidate the macedonian empire after his father's assassination, the world would not have known of his 'inbred' genius. had not hitler had the industrial capability and faith in his generals and their ability to deliver him victories, he would not have embarked on his ambitious plans for European domination.

Faces of Tun Teddy

Faces of Tun Teddy